Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh have supported Tŷ Hafan families for the last seven years by taking on challenges such as trekking Mount Manaslu in Nepal and running the Cardiff Half Marathon. This year, the battalion decided they wanted to do more for our families by helping them to create precious memories together.
Climbing one of Wales’ highest peaks, Pen y Fan, is a very popular outdoor, family activity that can often be taken for granted. Members of the battalion decided that if they could offer a guided walk to our families, this might enable them to take part and experience this activity together. So, at the beginning of August, a team made up of 12 family members, three Tŷ Hafan staff and two dogs took on the challenge of climbing Pen Y Fan, alongside five members of the 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh.
Emma Sankey, Fundraising Manager at Tŷ Hafan who joined the trek up Pen Y Fan, said: “The weather was not on our side but we all piled into our waterproofs and set off for the summit, and we’re happy to say that everyone made it to the top and the weather didn’t dampen our spirits. It was the first time that many of the families had scaled Pen y Fan, so it’s great for them to be able to say that they’ve done it alongside army soldiers and, of course, they’ve captured that iconic photo at the top of the mountain.”
At the end of August, the 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh opened the gates of their Maindy Barracks to 50 Tŷ Hafan children and their families for their very own Army Fun Day. The day started with a marching and drumming lesson with the Drummer’s Battalion, Tŷ Hafan children Luca and John then put their learnings into practise and led everyone around the Barracks on parade.
John’s dad, Paul Morgan, was thrilled with the day: “We had a fantastic day ... It takes a lot to get our John out of his shell, but on arrival at the barracks, John was met by a Captain from the Royal Regiment of Wales and that was just the start. It was amazing to see him enjoying the interaction from the Welsh Guards Band, wearing the helmet and the Bearskin and leading the band in a march around the parade ground.”
We were then treated to demonstrations from the fire service, police dog unit and the police special unit. Tanks and specialist army vehicles were also on display for the children to sit in and experience what it would be like to be a soldier. The day ended with a competition in the simulated shooting range where the parents were more competitive than the children!
We would like to say a big thank you to the 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh for being so hospitable and for creating a fun packed summer, filled with such special memories for the children and families of Tŷ Hafan.